Electoral Systems and Referendums

  • Created by: comfortm
  • Created on: 24-02-19 12:42
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  • Electoral Systems and Referendums
    • FPTP
      • Easy to understand.
      • Cheap to administer.
      • Quick and easy to count votes.
      • Suited to a two-party system and generally produces a clear majority.
      • Discourages extremism and encourages centrist politics.
      • Disproportionate results b/c it is a pluralist system
      • Encourages tactical voting
      • Many wasted votes.
      • Gives the winning party more seats - called a 'winner's bonus'
      • Strong MP-Constituency link
      • More safe seats = less competition.
    • AMS
      • Delivers proportional results
        • In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, the Conservatives won about 22% of the votes and about 24% of the seats.
      • Gives minor parties more representation.
        • In 2016, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats got 11 seats between them.
      • Retains strong MSP-Constituency link b/c it is a hybrid w/ FPTP.
      • Voters choice is not restricted and many give their second vote to smaller parties.
      • More choice can lead to voter confusion which encourages donkey voting.
      • Can create coalition whereby smaller parties can implement their policies.
      • Fewer wasted votes.
      • Without clear majorities and more coalition, it can make for ineffective or unstable govt.
        • The minority SNP govt of 2016 found it difficult to get its budget approved for 2017/18 and had to negotiate with other parties, eventually agreeing more money for councils in return for votes from the Greens.
      • It can create conflict between the constituency MSP and the seven list MSP’s. MSPs elected via the regional lists have been seen as having 'got in via the backdoor' or 'second class' members.
        • E.g: John Scott of the Ayr constituency may not like it when a regional MSP for the SNP party gets involved in local issues.
    • STV
      • Proportional results
      • Frequently produces coalition which is more representative
        • In N.Ireland, this has helped to maintain peace.
      • More representatives per ward/constituency
      • Fewer wasted votes
      • Fewer safe seats = more competition.
      • Puts an end to single-party domination.
      • B/c there are 3-4 councillors in each ward in Scotland there can be conflict over who is in charge.
      • Coalition govt can lead to political instability.
        • The N. Ireland Assembly has not been in session since 2017.
      • Too many representatives can cause voter confusion.
      • The voting process is confusiing and encourages donkey voting.
      • It heightens the chances of extremist parties, such as the BNP, gaining representation.
      • B/c members of the same party can run for the same wards, inner-party conflict is more likely.
    • Referendums
      • They strengthen popular sovereignty by giving people a say and allowing voters to mandate change.
      • They're one of the few ways in which Acts of Parliament can be entrenched.
      • They can create high levels of support and consensus for significant changes to the way we are governed.
      • They are popular with the public as they are seen as a fair way of resolving difficult or significant decisions
      • They can lead to the simplification of very complex and nuanced issues b/c of the need to make them understandable to a population that may have little or no knowledge of the subject.
      • Voters may not understand what they are being asked and misinterpret the question
      • If the public education campaign is not properly resourced or is seen to be biased the referendum campaign could have a negative effect on political engagement and may even increase disillusionment.
      • They are an important element in the UK's political system, despite weaknesses.
      • People may vote according to their like/dislike of the governing party


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